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DS 13 has become a hermit

(17 Posts)
FunBagFreddie Thu 18-Oct-12 20:39:01

For the last 6 months DS age 13, coming up 14 has become a hermit and never wants to leave his room. He doesn't want to go over to see friends, meet up with them or invite them over, apart from a friend who happens to be a girl, and that's only occasionally. He went on a school trip and he seemed to have a group of friends who called him over when I dropped him off.

I have spoken to his year's mentor at school to ask if he is being bullied, she doesn't think so. Obviously I have spoken to DS. He said that he is embarrassed about his bedroom. I told him that we would revamp it after Xmas providing homework was getting done etc, but he then said he would rather have an £850 laptop. hmm He also mentioned that he is in touch with his mates online, although I pointed out that it's not the same. What can I do to make him more sociable? It's not like I can ground him, and this was never a problem until about 6 months ago.

Personally, I think he is gay, and he has spoken to me a lot about homosexuality and bisexuality. I'm wondering if that's why he has distanced himself from other lads his age.

Aside from the possibly gayness, does anyone else have experience of hermit teenage DS's and advice about this? Is it just a normal teenage boy phase? Should I be worried? What can I do?

SecretSquirrels Fri 19-Oct-12 10:32:15

DS2 has hermit tendencies (as does DH). When he first started secondary school I expected him to make friends like DS1 did but he hasn't really. There are a couple but he prefers the friend who went to a different school.
I tried my best to get him to invite friends over or arrange cinema trips but he would just get annoyed at me.
Now 14 he is a little more sociable but never the party animal. This is ironic as when they were little DS1 was socially awkward and struggled to make friends and DS2 was the popular kid who others followed.
Incidentally don't underestimate socialising online. We are very rural and the boys chat via skype and play with friends all the time.

FunBagFreddie Fri 19-Oct-12 10:58:38

Aha, we are also very rural. Maybe I'm overworrying. Thanks.

Cromwell44 Fri 19-Oct-12 11:51:52

Many children go through a very unsocialable phase between about 13 and 15. I think it is a bit of a myth that most kids have great social lives at this stage. My daughter was totally reclusive between about 13 and 15 but after GCSes came into her own and now has a very active social life. There's not very much for kids to do outside the home at that age unless they have specific sports clubs or orchestra, bands, etc and some kids don't want to entertain at home - they see home as their refuge. Typical teeange behaviour to blame parents 'cos the room isn't good enough, but when you trued to fix it he didn't want you to!
It's probably a phase but in the meantime try not to give them the message that they should have a better social life. It will porabaly come in time.

FunBagFreddie Fri 19-Oct-12 12:19:03

Thanks Cromwell, this is the first time I've done the teenager thing and nobody bothered to give me the manual. I'm not the most outgoing person and could be described as an introvert, and this isn't a problem imo. Maybe I should cut DS some slack and let him be himself. I just worry because he went from being loud and extrovert to being very unsociable, but then puberty is a funny time.

bigbluebus Fri 19-Oct-12 12:47:12

DS is 15 and he never mixes with school friends outside of school hours. He has one friend in the village (whom he's known since nursery but who went to a different secondary school) whom he sees sometimes at weekends or in the holidays, but the rest of the time its PS3, computer or facebook. He does however play on line with friends from school and I am assured by school that he has a varied group of friends.
I think it's just a phase some teenagers go through and it is made harder when you live in a rural area as they can't just pop round to each others houses.

SecretSquirrels Fri 19-Oct-12 15:26:54

If only there was a manual. Trouble is, in my experience one teenager has a different operating system from another.grin.
We had the "my room isn't good enough".
We did a makeover, which he was thrilled with but it didn't make him more inclined to have friends over.
You describe yourself as an introvert, perhaps it's not surprising that our children inherit personality traits as well as physical ones. I often think that, given the choice, my DH would happily never leave the house again. He certainly never socialises.

Because their friends are spread around neighbouring villages, I have always put up with welcomed sleepovers. DS1(16) has 6 friends (all lads) coming over tonight. They will eat me out of house and home, stay up most of the night and thank me politely when they crawl home tomorrow. I love them really.
I wish DS2 would do the same but he won't.

Cocodale Fri 19-Oct-12 15:31:47

I'm reading the book ' Get out of my life but first give me and Alex a lift to the station '. This is exactly how they describe boys in adolescence, it's a good read if only to tell you what your teenager is doing is normal.

LongTimeLurking Fri 19-Oct-12 17:58:38

"What can I do to make him more sociable?" - Nothing. You cannot change the way he is or feels about being sociable. And why is not being particularly sociable seen as a bad thing anyway; unless he is unhappy and unable to make friends (but that doesn't appear to be what you are saying)?

Also, if he is gay it IS quite possible he is working it out in his own head (hence prefers his quiet time) and may find it more difficult socialising with other boys his age, as the will no doubt spend a lot of time talking about girls.....plus the type of homophobic banter that can happen in some groups.

Unless you think he is depressed, I would say back off and give him some space, it is more than likely just a phase he is going through right now.

I also agree with SS, don't underestimate the socialising online, via facebook, msn, gaming and so on....

YerMaw1989 Fri 19-Oct-12 22:06:50

I think perhaps as much as you mean well, you are being waay overbearing here.

I winced at speaking to his school mentor about him he possibly feels a bit betrayed I would at that age.

FunBagFreddie Fri 19-Oct-12 23:24:28

YerMaw1989, you are absolutely right. I feel like a total plum, even if I meant well.

You people are right, Ii need to just back off. If he wants to stay in his room at the moment that's his business? It could be a lot worse. He's a nice lad and he does actually go out for his martial arts training. I

ptangyangkipperbang Fri 19-Oct-12 23:40:47

DS1 is a hermit too. It used to worry me but having seen the teenagers 'socialising' outside our local shop I'm glad to have him safely at home! I think lots of teenagers go through this phase and some don't want to put any effort into friendships out of school.

FunBagFreddie Fri 19-Oct-12 23:54:25

I just wanted to say thanks to everyone. The people I know with DS's the same age don't seem to be having the hermit phase.

Tbh I worried about the bullying, because bus money was getting 'lost'. Anyway, I have since found out that DS was spending it on sweets and fizzy drinks. That's why I called the student mentor. The missing money seemed to coincide with DS going in to hermit mode.

onedev Fri 19-Oct-12 23:57:13

I was a compete recluse between 13 & 15 & didn't mix with anyone outside of school. Looking back, it coincided with me getting glasses & braces & just totally knocked my confidence.

Don't think anything particular happened to change it - just outgrew it & became more confident. I do remember absolutely hating how my mum would constantly go on at me to go out / have friends round etc & felt very embarrassed.

I'm happy to say I'm a well adjusted happily married mum of 3, who has a good job & lots of friends so there were no lasting effects grin

I'm sure he's fine but totally understand why you worry!

My DD2 was just the same.. went from being the most outgoing girl imaginable to someone who spent her days writing her blog in her bedroom and never seeing daylight. Even recently..A level years she preferred to stay home, couldn't be bothered to go out etc etc. Quite happy to just be with us

Went off to university in September (with me worrying).. and is back to miss social! Having an amazing time, loving having new friends and has a new found confidence!

I think many many teens go thro a 'withdrawl' stage.. I have 4 teens and they all did to a certain extent..like a caterpillar going into a cocoon. They eventually merge with their new adult butterfly wings smile

Incidentally my DD1 went very quiet for a while before she came out as gay. She KNEW she was from about 14 or so but wanted 'the norm' and struggled with it. Finally came out at 20 and is now much happier, outgoing and wonderful! She said it felt horrible knowing she was different in her early teens but not daring to be herself. Now she has a beautiful girlfriend and life is good!

adogcalledbetty Sun 21-Oct-12 19:55:50

My DS1, now 20, is quite hermit-like. He very occasionally goes out with work friends and also does sports, but apart from that is quite content to stay in his room, on his xbox mostly. Its just how he is and I don't regard it as a problem, although I did when he was younger as I worried he was missing out on life and being unhappy, which actually he wasn't.

SoulTrain Sun 21-Oct-12 20:00:00

Please don't refer to your son's sexuality as his "gayness."

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